Charleston, W.Va. -- Military and overseas voters from five West Virginia counties will have a unique absentee voting opportunity for the upcoming May primary elections.
An online voting pilot project will be implemented in Jackson, Kanawha, Marshall, Monongalia, and Wood Counties. The pilot program allows voters covered by the U.S. Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) to access and cast their ballots through a secured website.
The pilot program will utilize military-style encryption to ensure ballot security. Overseas voters will also not have to be concerned that a mailed absentee ballot will not arrive at the court house in time to be counted.
In order to participate in the online voting pilot program, military or overseas voters would submit a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to their county clerk indicating “online voting” as their preferred ballot delivery method in the “Additional Information” section, Part 6 of the application and then provide a valid e-mail address. Voters may also submit a completed West Virginia Application for Voting Absent Voter’s Ballot by fax, email, or online.
Both forms are available from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website at www.wvsos.com. These applications may be submitted by mail, fax or e-mail.
Once the completed application is accepted by the local clerk the voter will be sent an e-mail with instructions on accessing the secure website, casting a ballot, and tracking the progress of the ballot through the final counting process.
This online process can cut weeks from traditional absentee voting methods ensuring deployed military and overseas residents ample time to have their vote cast and counted.
County clerks also plan on contacting UOCAVA voters via email or mail. That correspondence will include even more details on how to take part in the online absentee voting pilot program.
Two online voting service providers will be partnering with the state in this effort to make it easier for overseas voters to cast an absentee ballot. Both service providers have previous experience conducting on-line elections.
“This is a comprehensive plan to make sure our service men and women and people overseas can exercise their rights as Americans," said West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant.
The pilot program, adopted in response to passage of the federal Military and Overseas Voters Empowerment (MOVE) Act, will be evaluated for continuation into the November General Elections after the primary elections are complete.
Voters from the five participant counties may find out more about the program by contacting their local county clerk. Clerks’ contact information and basic program information may be found at www.wvsos.com.